A "partly autobiographical novel" with the subtitle "A Friendship," Bernhard's ( Woodcutters , The Lime Works ) 1984 work delineates the unusual relationship between the narrator, a writer not unlike Bernhard, and the brilliant but mad nephew of the phil- osopher Wittgenstein. Both men are confined to beds in the same hospital, the narrator in the pulmonary ward and Paul Wittgenstein in the asylum. Both are plagued with fears and doubts about the terminal nature of life. Acquaintances beforehand, they reach out now and build a friendship based on mutual support and respect that somehow thrives in this bleak and hopeless environment. Bernhard's style relies on ponderous repetition of words and ideas, which may be more natural in the original German. When successful this technique has the effect of a musical composition that reiterates a theme in variations. More often, though, it palls and results in maddeningly convoluted sentences that tend to numb the mind.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The works of Austrian novelist/playwright Bernhard continue to be internationally recognized. This novel, originally published in 1982, documents the author's friendship with Paul Wittgenstein, nephew to Ludwig and a philosopher in his own right. The novel is part autobiography and part retrospective re-creation of the eccentric Paul's life and--as in numerous other works of Bernhard--an explanation of the artist's struggle to survive in a world gone insane. The novel is witty, biting, and very moving, all beautifully captured in the translation. Highly recommended for literature and philosophy collections.
- Ulrike S. Rettig, Wellesley Coll., Mass.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
chewy read, and a lot to learn - personalisaton of the characters really well done - reads in an idiosyncratic way Bernard made his own - a form of writing that is Austrian to its... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Leslie Gardner
Wittgenstein's nephew was above all my expectations. Wonderful!!Published 10 months ago by Leontien
Possibly a life-changing book, a great introduction to a difficult and rewarding author, master.Published 11 months ago by J. Goins
A longue monologue by Bernhard himself about his former best friend Paul Wittgenstein, passed away a few years earlier, and cousin of the famous philosopher Ludwig. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Marc L
How do you rate a book that you find just as irritating and annoying as you do riveting and fascinating? I gave it 5 stars because I think this book needs to be read. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Mario Igrec
This is a book about the isolation of the rational mind. Isolation clings to the central characters, who are both marginalized after their own fashion. Read morePublished on March 11, 2013 by Freelancer Frank
Bernhard does a good job of showing how his friend's and his own physical/psychological illnesses and their disgust with Austria in general resonate and reflect off of each other. Read morePublished on February 16, 2012 by jafrank
I seem to be running against the current here; in part I think there are cultural factors at work.
I decided to read Bernhard because of his mention at several points in... Read more
An entertaining, albeit thin and superficial novella by Thomas Bernhard about an unlikely friendship between two sick patients in Vienna. Read morePublished on October 28, 2010 by Steiner